Lt. Col. Enrique Hernandez
Lt. Col. Enrique Hernandez
  • June 21, 1938 - December 2, 2017
  • El Paso, Texas

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(RET) USMCR Lt. Col. Enrique "Henry/ Hank" Hernandez, 79, passed peacefully, Saturday, December 2, 2017. He was born June 21, 1938 to Felicitas and Toribio Sepulveda & adopted after their death by Refugio and Rev. Jesus Hernandez at 18 months. He was a longtime resident of El Paso., TX. After graduating from El Paso High School in 1956, Henry joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. In 1960, he earned a Bachelor's of Business Administration from Texas Western College and an active duty commission in the U.S. Marine Corps and participated as an interpreter during the Bay of Pigs. In 1963, he married Lucia prior to completing naval flight training in Milton, FL. Among the first Hispanic military aviators, he flew 302 combat missions in Vietnam, including Operation Twilight and Harvest Moon. He was shot down twice and awarded the Air Medal (7th) for gallant combat action. He completed his military career as the Commanding Officer of N Battery, 8" howitzer in the Marine Corps Reserve. In 1971, he began "door to door" selling of life insurance and developed a 40+ year practice in El Paso's financial services industry. His favorite saying was, "It's easier to sell life insurance than get shot at in combat." He was an advocate for small business owners, which over the years become some of his closest friendships, akin to family. He continued to remain active with the community, mostly with a non-profit veterans group - 19th Rifle Company. For more than 10 years he led the group's scholarship committee, organizing fundraising efforts and award presentations. Henry was the epitome of "An Officer and a Gentleman," served as a great confidante to many, and always willing to lend a helping hand.

He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Lucia O. Hernandez; sons Enrique Jr. "Kiki" (Anita), Daniel "Nano" Reynaldo of Los Angeles, CA, Jaime Alfonso (Mary) of Franklin, TN, & Carlos Hernandez; eight grandchildren; sisters Leonor Rodriguez and Gloria Diaz (Salvador); as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, December 10, 2017 from 5:00pm until 9:00pm with a Rosary service at 6:00pm at Hillcrest Funeral Home-Carolina. Funeral Mass will be Monday, December 11, 2017 at 12:15pm at St. Raphael Catholic Church. Interment to follow in Fort Bliss National Cemetery with full military honors. Services entrusted to Hillcrest Funeral Home-Carolina, (915)598-3332. Honorary Pallbearers are Donnie Allen, Allan Carl, Joe Divas, Mario Gaspar De Alba, Dave Harold, and Jaime Rosales.